The central bank – Bank of Botswana is in custody of close to P17 million which was collected from the country’s commercial banks as ‘unclaimed funds’ over the years.
Unclaimed Funds are money deposits made by banking customers or money lodged with a bank for any purpose that has been left untouched and not reclaimed by such customers for a period of ten years or more.
The latest Banking Supervision report compiled by the central bank shows that the balance of the unclaimed funds increased by 12.2 percent from P15 077 033 in 2018 to P16 917 687 in 2019.
The bank says in accordance with Section 39 of the Banking Act, it continued to administer abandoned funds from commercial banks.
Section 39 of the Banking Act states that: “Where a customer’s deposit, or money lodged with a bank for any purpose, has been left untouched and not reclaimed for ten years or more, and the customer has not responded within six months to a letter from the bank concerning the dormant deposit or money, and sent to the customer’s last known address by registered post, the deposit or money, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have been abandoned.
At the same time, the Banking Act empowers the commercial banks to transfer the abandoned funds to the Central Bank.
The 2019 Banking Supervision report shows that at the opening of books in the Fund for 2018 there was a balance of P10 million which was brought forward from the previous year while the 2019 figure of the same is pegged at P15 million. A total of P6 184 744 has been classified as the money received in 2018 while in 2019 the figure for the same was only P2 966 201.The report further shows that a transfer to the Guardian Fund of P1 million was made in 2018 while in 2019 a total of P924 425 was transferred out.
As per the Banking Act, Bank of Botswana has been empowered to maintain records of deposits or monies which have been abandoned at the country’s commercial banks. It has also been mandated to refund to the owner or his/her heirs.